I’ve made the right choice!
That’s what should be going through your new employee’s mind at the end of their first week with your organisation.
Think of this as another opportunity to make a really great impression. You could get them to spend those first days on endless form filling and HR administration – or you could organise it so that they finish the week with a real feeling of excitement for the future.
Firstly, here’s a list of things guaranteed to take the shine off things right from the start. They are easy to get right and yet so often, this is the reality people experience when starting a new job.
- Their security pass isn’t allocated or doesn’t work
- Reception staff are not expecting them
- They don’t have a login to company systems
- Their boss is on holiday
- Their laptop or mobile phone hasn’t turned up
- They have nowhere to sit
Most of us will have experienced this at some time or other, and the list could go on. But even if you get all that right, you may still leave them with an impression that is just ‘OK’.
So how do you make your new employee really welcome and show them they are part of the team right from the start. We have a few suggestions below:
Make them feel expected and wanted
The week before they start, ensure you brief the rest of their team so that they know the name and bit about their new colleague’s background. Ask all team members to make a point of going up to the new person and saying hello, rather than waiting for the formal tour and introductions. It’s also a good idea to put together a seating plan with names of their immediate team as a reference guide.
And picking up on some of the points above, ensure they have a workstation and that all the tools they need to start work are in place.
Assign them with a mentor
It’s a great idea to appoint a mentor, someone in their team to whom they can go with any questions in the first few weeks. Brief the mentor to take them to lunch on their first day and to be around a lot during the first few days. The mentor should act as the new hire’s support, someone who is always available to answer queries or offer advice.
Give some basic essential training
Of course, you’re likely to have a schedule of training planned for your new hire over the coming weeks, but on day one they’ll need to know some basic things that others will take for granted, regardless of what position they have taken up. How to get onto the network, how to use the phone system and copier, how to access diary systems, and so on. Ensure you cover off the basics early on.
Give them a tour
Show the person around the offices, introducing them to people along the way. Although this can be overwhelming, and they may not remember it all, it will at least give them a sense of who is who and if nothing else, they will learn where the loos are!
Ensure their boss is available
Plan with the new person’s line manager to be available as much as possible during their first week. You should set up a proper briefing session for them with their boss and a lunch date so that they can get to know each other a little less formally.
Don’t cram all the paperwork into day one
Yes, we know paperwork is important, and an early meeting with HR is a good idea to cover off any questions about salary, bonuses, pensions, etc. But leave essential forms until the end of the week.
Give them something to do
It’s great to feel you’ve actually accomplished something during your first week. Small, easy to manage tasks that they can get stuck into straight away are a good way to make new hires feel they are contributing. And of course, ensure they are briefed and included in any relevant meetings.
Ask them what they think
Make sure that you schedule a meeting towards the end of their first week to give them the opportunity to ask questions or raise any immediate concerns. Is there anything they need to know that has been overlooked? Ask for honest feedback about whether they’ve been made to feel welcomed and valued. It not only gives the opportunity to address any problems early but shows that you are really concerned about them.
The impressions the new employee forms during the first few days can impact enormously on their experience of your company. It’s a good use of your time to ensure the new employee’s welcome is positive and exciting.
How do you make new employees feel welcome? We’d love to hear ideas that have worked well for you. Share them in the comments below.